Strategy is one of the few things that crosses organizational structure. Most other things in an organizations function within the context of silos/business lines. While some organizational leaders get frustrated with the limitations of what is sometimes referred to as “silos” in a derogatory sense, they’re not a bad thing. This focused segmentation of functions allows teams to focus and collaborate by purpose. What is frustrating for people is that there isn’t a strategy management SYSTEM in place that allows for information, cooperation, direction and accountability to flow across business and structural lines.
While we know better, there’s a part of every one of us that reacts with the instinct to protect our success by keeping others in the organization at half an arm’s length. This tendency is related to an inherent competitiveness flowing from the reality that one person gets promoted at a time. Generalizing to some degree, the problem with this kind of thinking is that it assumes and creates limited potential for growth and success. The greater problem is that when this becomes a cultural norm, it quashes the potential for collective success which can only be achieved by integration and collaboration.
Within the strategy management field, there’s no room for process design with too much self-interest. As one of the few cross-functional enablers in the organization, we have to encourage collaboration. Potential for growth is only limited by the size of your potential market. I would hazard a guess that most of us aren’t really hitting the ceiling in that regard. We’re more limited by our creative sense of potential than the world around us.
True collaborative potential begins when we realize that we all have the potential to shine within an organization simultaneously, and the degree to which we shine is always linked to the success we enable in those around us.